Yoga-sutras (with Bhoja’s Rajamartanda)

by Rajendralala Mitra | 1883 | 103,575 words

The Yoga-Sutra 4.21, English translation with Commentaries. The Yogasutra of Patanjali represents a collection of aphorisms dealing with spiritual topics such as meditation, absorption, Siddhis (yogic powers) and final liberation (Moksha). The Raja-Martanda is officialy classified as a Vritti (gloss) which means its explanatory in nature, as opposed to being a discursive commentary.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Sūtra 4.21:

चित्तेरप्रतिसङ्क्रमायास्तदाकारापत्तौ स्वबुद्धिसंवेदनम् ॥ ४.२१ ॥

citterapratisaṅkramāyāstadākārāpattau svabuddhisaṃvedanam || 4.21 ||

21. The intellection of its own cognition takes place when it takes its form through the non-transitional soul.

The Rajamartanda commentary by King Bhoja:

[English translation of the 11th century commentary by Bhoja called the Rājamārtaṇḍa]

[Sanskrit text for commentary available]

The question may then be asked, if, in the absence of self-perceptive power in cognitions (buddhi), one cognition cannot be known by another, how do we use the idea this is the perception of an object? To remove this doubt, he expounds his conclusion.

[Read Sūtra 4.21]

“Soul” (puruṣa), being of the form of intelligence, is called citi (intellect). It is “non-transitional” (apratisaṅkramā), that which has no transition or passing into another place is so called: by this is meant that it does not mix with anything. In the modification of the member and the membered, the (three) qualities, (as members) in passing into the qualified or membered, assume their forms, and in the world atoms, moving on, produce the forms of objects; but the power of intellection (i.e., soul) does not do so, because it always retains its own form, inasmuch as it exists in itself. Hence when the thinking principle, being near it, assumes its shape, intellection takes place; and when the soul, by its contact with the function of the thinking principle being endowed with understanding, cognizes, then the knowing of the thinking principle of its own self takes place.

Notes and Extracts

[Notes and comparative extracts from other commentaries on the Yogasūtra]

[The soul never undergoes any modification, but by its reflection on the thinking principle that principle derives its intelligence, and that intelligent state is therefore said to be attained through the non-transitional soul. It is then citi or intelligence, because for the time being it has intelligence in it, and this is explained by the commentator. When the thinking principle in its intelligent state assumes the form of an object, it is able to know its own notions.

The Pātañjala Bhāṣya explains the text by saying,

(apariṇāminī hi bhoktṛśaktirapratisaṅkramā ca pariṇāmiṇyatyarthe pratisaṅkrānteva tadvṛttimanupatati, tasyāśca prāptacaitanyopagraharupāyā buddhivṛtteranukārimātratayā buddhivṛtyaviśiṣṭā hi jñānavṛttirākhyāyate).

“Unmodifiable is the power of experiencing; it is also non-transitional. On its reflection falling on the excessibly modifiable (the thinking principle) the functions of the latter reflect on it. Thereupon people call it the function of understanding from its imitating the function of the thinking principle enlivened by intelligence, though it is devoid of the function of understanding.” (The force of the argument here depends upon the distinction made between intelligence and the function of understanding, for the soul, though intelligence itself, does not exercise any Function.)—

Paṇḍit Govindadeva Śāstrī, following some later commentators, explains the text so as to mean that the soul itself undergoes the modification. The earlier and more reliable commentators, however, do not accept that meaning, and as the sequel shows them to be right I have accepted their interpretation.]

To show that thus the self-perceptive thinking principle, being able to perceive all objects, becomes fit for all purposes, he says:

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